DOD SBIR/STTR Small Business Portal

Compact Inflatable Structures for Submerged Payload Launch & Recovery

The U.S. Navy (USN) seeks to develop enabling technologies for the use of soft inflatable structures as components to undersea payload launch and recovery (L&R) systems.

Inflatable structures using seawater as the inflation medium are particularly attractive to the USN because of their ability to produce large developable shapes possessing significant load-carrying capacities and stiffness when inflated and for their ability to achieve smaller form factors and volume reductions when deflated.

On Demand Structures – Submarine Launch of UUVs

The U.S. Navy (USN) seeks to develop enabling capabilities for launch and recovery (L&R) operations of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) from submarines at prescribed submergence conditions.

More specifically, there is a need to launch vehicles of different hull diameters from a standard 21-inch diameter by 25-foot long tube (ocean interface). To prevent damage to the tube and vehicles, and to stabilize the vehicle’s orientation throughout the launch event, a UUV Sabot System (UUVSS) is sought. Vehicles will be launched under their own power and the UUVSS will separate from the vehicle upon exiting the tube. The UUVSS can be designed as either expendable or nonexpendable.

Flow Conditioning for Improved Piping Arrangement

In order to minimize straight pipe length requirements, a technology is sought that can expedite the establishment of a fully developed flow profile after non-straight pipe sections such as elbows and bends.

The solution should readily integrate with existing piping and should produce minimal pressure drop. Furthermore, it is required that the solution does not induce cavitation and does not produce excessive vibrations.

Quiet Bunks

Today’s sailors are asked to perform ever increasing tasks and thus need to be at peak performance.

Restful sleep is essential to achieving this peak performance, yet the close working quarters inside submarines can be detrimental to sleep cycles. Therefore, materials and uses of materials to bolster the natural sleep cycle for more restorative rest are desired. Additionally, sound damping materials may be used to reduce mechanical or other noises onboard platforms.

Cool Suits

Columbia-Class submarines have a higher steel preheat requirement than previous classes.

Currently, welders suffer from heat exhaustion (especially during the summer months) and the new Columbia requirement will only exacerbate this problem. Increasing weld times by just a half-hour in aggregate would yield immense productivity gains. Clothing materials that reduce the thermal body temperature of welders while maintaining ergonomics and dexterity will significantly mitigate this issue. Furthermore, this heat reducing material can be leveraged to decrease equipment heat loads and thus increase performance periodicities.

High Power Compact Fuel Cell System

Develop a compact fuel cell system (e.g., stackable fuel cells, hydrogen and oxygen fuel sources, all balance-of-plant equipment including by-product management components) capable of producing, at a minimum, 500 kW of power.

Minimize the overall volume and weight of the overall system and system complexity, which is vital for deployment (e.g., underwater manned and unmanned platforms, surface ships, forward operating bases). Ensure that the system has a fast start-up time (<5 minutes), demonstrates high reliability, and shows ease of maintenance and repair of its lowest replaceable units.